For Eugene Perry of Soutwhite, Pa. it was his first time at Festival. "Art is my profession,” Perry said, "You have to be dedicated, that's important when you are creating; although you are doing what you love, you have to create works that sell."
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Greater Reston Arts Center once again produced, as the nonprofit organization's largest annual fundraiser, one of the finest quality art fairs in the country: Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. Event proceeds will help sustain GRACE as a community art space.
The Festival featured significant changes from previous years. In the Greater Reston Arts Center Festival 2018 program, Lily Siegel, Executive Director and Curator for GRACE and Robert Goudie, Board Chair GRACE wrote, "What does one do to an outdoor arts festival already ranked one of the best in the country (ArtsFair Calendar.com)? Change, if that ranking is to be retained."
THE FIRST CHANGE was that Balducci's Food Lover's Market joined as Title Sponsor, bringing selections of artfully displayed and tantalizing street foods to Festival. GRACE added Festival Friday where Reston Town Center (RTC) merchants offered deals to help drive new audiences to the event, fostering sales to the artists and encouraging patronage to the local stores.
The Festival Party, made possible by the M Group Architects and The Counter Custom Burgers, moved to Saturday where GRACE presented their annual ten Awards of Excellence, this year sponsored by Boston Properties "putting the focus squarely on the artists."
This was as Siegel and Goudie wrote, "... the first time we've made this (the awards) a free VIP event, for our Festival artists, all our GRACE members, and unlimited guests of our Board of Directors and major sponsors and donors. And, thanks to Reston Community Center's sponsorship, we've added a special surprise for the evening- a surrealistic experience with Baltimore-based artist Laurie Drogouli and team. It's a fun-raiser!"
Of course, GRACE retained the ever popular Family Art Park offering free art-making activities for groups of all ages in the Town Center Pavilion.
Two hundred plus professional artists from 37 states participated in the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Friday, May 18-Sunday, May 20, 2018. From self-taught studio artists of world-acclaim to artists with renowned academic rankings and awards, the multi-disciplinary contemporary artists arrived in Reston ready to set up their stalls despite the gloomy weather forecast for Friday and Saturday. The event attracted new and returning artists whose works in printmaking, ceramics, wood, mixed media 3D, leather, metal, photography and more brought rapid sales.
One of those artists was Kyle Osvog, a sculptural ceramicist from Jackson, Ga. Osvog heard about the festival months before and submitted his registration for consideration. When chosen, he was thrilled. During an interview, Saturday afternoon at the festival, Osvog said, "I never intended to be a full-time working artist. I had considered a career in architecture and design, but after high school, I apprenticed in a potter's studio. I can’t imagine being anything else." Osvog walked over and picked up one of his signature works. It was a geometric form, a dodecahedron, a twelve-sided work, carved into an architectural balance of symmetry and design influenced by the mathematical art of M.C. Escher and the design science of R. Buckminster Fuller. "I'm cautiously optimistic I might win an award," Osvog stated referencing the ten recipients to be named at that evening's Festival Party as the 2018 Festival Award Winners. Earlier, jurors Spencer Dormitzer, Isabel Manalo and Francis Thompson had judged and ranked the works of all the artists.
DESPITE SATURDAY’S RAIN and gloom, Robin Lewis of South Riding was one of the thousands of Saturday shoppers. Lewis exemplified the typical Fine Arts Festival patron, one who returns year after year to browse the 11-block art walk and make purchases. Lewis immediately spied and snatched up a wall-mounted sculpture display box with an original painting laminated on one face and the other sides finished in flat black. Leslie Emery of Sun Prairie, Wis. created it. Like nearly all artists at Festival, Emery is a full-time professional artist.
Although a previous Festival artist many years ago, Emery stated she was glad to be back and that, she noticed many changes in the look of Reston Town Center and the Festival.
Support for community arts, whether monetary, through sponsorships, or volunteering, would be appreciated anytime by GRACE. Visit reston.org